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A Healing Fit: Questions to Ask Your Counselor

Considerations to Make When Seeking a Therapist

Your deepest hurts often occur in your most important relationships. This, too, is where healing happens: in relationship. That is why seeking a counselor who is well-suited to you and your story is so important: it is the basis of your healing journey.

Finding the right counselor isn’t always easy. Here are a few questions to consider:

Do their specialties and experience match with your presenting concerns?

Many issues addressed in counseling require specialized training and skills, so even an excellent and well-trained counselor that your friend or family member has referred you to may not be a great fit for you if they do not work in areas related to your individual concerns. For example: an amazing general counselor may not have the specialized training to address your trauma, PTSD or complex anxiety symptoms.

Can your counselor develop a plan with you to address your concerns?

Take some time to identify why you are seeking a counselor then ask your counselor how they will be able to help. They should be able to provide clear framework for how they approach your particular concern. Within the first couple sessions, your counselor should be able to help identify a trail map toward reaching your goals as well as information surrounding the work that will be required on your part.

What does your gut say about your fit with your counselor?

When you talk with your counselor, do you feel comfortable and at ease? Is this someone that you feel safe with and can trust with your most personal thoughts, feelings and memories?

Do you resonate with their philosophy and approach?

As you read through their materials and get to know your counselor better, does his/her approach fit with your understanding of the world and how people change? If your spirituality is important to you, will your counselor integrate this into his/her approach?

Is your counselor licensed AND TRAINED ADEQUATELY?

It is important to find a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or otherwise licensed mental health professional in order to receive the highest possible care. In the state of Colorado, licensing means, at minimum, that he or she has earned his/her Masters degree with at least 2,000 client hours logged over a two-year span and have received at least 100 hours of counseling supervision. It is certainly true that you may find an excellent unlicensed counselor or social worker, but they might not have as much experience or supervision at this point in their professional journeys. Often, unlicensed practitioners will have the letters MA, LPCC (licensed professional counselor candidate) or MSW (masters in social work) solely listed after his/her name. In the state of Colorado, you can have no formal education (even just a high school diploma) and register as a LPCC.

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